Malawi’s electoral body has announced that it will withhold the release of presidential results after the High Court ordered a review of the polls following opposition candidates’ allegations of massive fraud.
The electoral commission (MEC) announced the decision on Saturday following general elections held on May 21.
Malawians voted to elect the president, parliament and ward councillors.
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The main political parties on the ballot were Peter Mutharika’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
According to Malawi’s electoral laws, complaints must be resolved within the maximum eight days between polling and the announcement of results.
However, MEC chairwoman Justice Jane Ansah said the results would be delayed until matters cited by the court were resolved. She said:
Presidential results have been withheld until we resolve the issue of the court injunction which we have received. We are dealing with all the complaints.
Protests erupted in the country’s capital, Lilongwe resulting in the police deploying armoured trucks. The capital is perceived to be an opposition stronghold.
After votes had been tallied from 75% of the country’s polling stations, released on Thursday, the incumbent Peter Mutharika was leading with 40.9 per cent.
In second place was Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party who had 35.44 per cent of the vote.